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Section VI plants Tournament seeds

Niagara Falls ended up a No. 6 seed for the upcoming Section VI boys basketball tournament in what turned out to be a real numbers game.

The seedings for this year's tournament were announced Sunday at Maryvale.

The Wolverines (15-4), the defending New York State Class AA champs, play an independent schedule, so calculating their power rating for the sectional tournament is a different ball game.

Section VI teams earn points for wins against league opponents. Because they don't play in a league, all of Niagara Falls' games count. The enrollments of each school figures into the number of points they can earn, and that's what took a little research.

"The schools that were out of the area that I was not aware of their enrollment I either called the school or the athletic association in that state to get their correct enrollment," said Section VI Chairman Jim Walker. "As it turned out, it put Niagara Falls in a situation where they would not meet Riverside until the finals."

Niagara Falls' Feb. 12 game against Vashon of St. Louis in the Prime Time Shootout was canceled because of weather. Niagara Falls' points were still divided by 20 to coincide with the number of games they scheduled.

"That's the rule. I have no problem with it," said Niagara Falls coach Dan Bazzani. "I knew what the parameters were going in. . . . I'm not going to complain about the seedings."

This year's tournament tips off Wednesday with 26 prequarterfinals games spread across the seven classes. Of the 87 schools in Section VI, 82 are participating with the exception of Lancaster, Springville, Salamanca, Ripley and Hinsdale.

CLASS AA: If Niagara Falls beats No. 11 Kenmore West in the pre-quarters, it goes on the road to face No. 3 seed Williamsville North.

Yale Cup champion Riverside, led by Mike Williams' 26.7 ppg., is staring at a possible semifinal matchup versus No. 1 Jamestown. The Red Raiders won ECIC I this year for the sixth time in eight years.

CLASS A-1: No. 2 Grover Cleveland could be playing No. 7 Lafayette again, a team it only beat, 85-84, five days ago. The Presidents' 6-foot-7 Cantrel Parrish (29 ppg) is coming off a career-high 45 points versus the Violets. Parrish is considering a scholarship offer from Daemen.

ECIC II champ Williamsville East grabbed the No. 1 seed. East started the year 0-3. A 6-5 sophomore, Brian Wallden, has elevated his game averaging 13 rpg.

No. 3 Sweet Home may have five losses, but all have been by four points or less and two were in overtime.

CLASS A-2: No. 1 seed and defending Class A champion Maryvale enters postseason on an 18-game winning streak.

No. 3 Olean (20-0) is the only undefeated team in the tournament.

Cheektowaga won a coin flip with Pioneer for the No. 4 seed. If they meet in the quarterfinals, winning the flip means a home game for the Warriors.

CLASS B-1: It's the fourth year in a row Lackawanna (19-1) has been the No. 1 seed. The Steelers' only loss is to defending state champion Palmyra-Macedon of Section V at the McQuaid Shootout. Senior Lesean Braxton averages 19 ppg.

No. 2 seed Medina, winners of the Niagara-Orleans League Tournament, boasts Casey Tuohey, who takes a lot of pride in his defense and can create on offense.

CLASS B-2: Gowanda won a coin flip to break a tie with Falconer and Southwestern for No. 2. City Honors, last year's B-2 champ, checks in at No. 6. Burgard is the only Yale Cup team to grab a No. 1 seed.

CLASS C: No. 11 Barker better gas up the bus for its estimated 1 hour and 55-minute drive to No. 6 Franklinville. . . . No. 2 seed Silver Creek looks to defend its Class C title with JoJo and Joonie Williams. . . . No. 1 seed Cassadaga Valley has four players who average in double figures. . . . No. 3 Randolph needs a big tournament from 6-6 Mike Sieberg. Pine Valley, last year's Class D champ, finds itself a No. 7 seed this year.

CLASS D: Clymer is the No. 1 seed in this seven-team bracket. The Pirates won CCIAC III this year, a league with three Class C teams. Senior Nate Smith is an imposing 6-4, 275. . . . No. 2 seed West Valley has some size with four 6-footers, including Mike McCarthy and Chase Colf.

e-mail: mmonnin@buffnews.com

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